Posts Tagged ‘agape’

Should we really substitute ‘love’ for ‘charity’ in 1 Corinthians 13?

 I attended Pensacola Christian College, which, when I was there, was a predominantly King James Version-using institution. Some teachers had no problems with the New King James, but for the most part, it was KJV. That didn’t stop one chapel speaker from reading a passage of scripture using a different word, a la the New Scofield version.

(For those who attended PCC in the nineties: if I said his name, you’d know whom I was talking about).

The speaker announced he was reading 1 Corinthians 13 but wanted to read the word “charity” as “love.”

Some wonder why the translators chose “charity” in this passage instead of “love” and almost automatically substitute love. Newer versions say love.

But is love really the right word?

I understand that while the Greek word for “charity” is ἀγάπη (agapē), the idea here is a love that’s put into action. According to the Strong’s Concordance, this Greek word is defined as affection, good will, love, benevolence. It is the love God not only has for us, but the love He expects us to share to others. My understanding is in the 17th century, when the King James Bible was published, such a word for practical love was “charity”.

Yes, I know much has changed since then, but it makes me think people should do research before jumping the gun and offering to “correct” a Bible passage.